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tv   Patrick Phillips Discusses Blood at the Root  CSPAN  January 21, 2017 11:45am-11:55am EST

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decline after returning home from the war and we talked to local after that visit literary sites in harrisburg, pennsylvania. those are a few of the programs we will see on c-span2 this weekend. for complete television schedule visit booktv, 48 hours of nonfiction books and authors this holiday weekend, television for serious readers. >> there is a story about a murdered girl and the rampage of night riders, torch wielding ku klux klan -- i wondered if it was a racist fantasy, something kids like to talk about in the backseat of the bus, in 1912, a newspaper database, up came a list of headlines that told him and 18-year-old woman who was raped and killed at the banks of the chattahoochee river by three
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black men. here is a photograph of her around 1912, this was a little town called oscarphil. this is me playing hooky, doing graduate work on the 17th century bubonic plague outbreak and i was bored and tired with writing my dissertation, playing hooky but realized i was in a computer terminal that had this information and things were coming online. it was 2005. a lot of things were coming online for the first time in archives like the history center libraries that were digitizing it. along with that was newspapers and the story i always imagined as murky and unknowable and lost. and that is an old issue, this is the picture that came up.
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october 2, 1912, i didn't know at the time who these people are. the prisoners in front, daniel, her brother oscar daniel, young 18-year-old and named tony howell, isaiah pirkle and oscar daniel and ernest knox would eventually behaved but i didn't know that when i brought this picture. this is something i couldn't escape, the first faces i had ever seen, as i panned across this photograph, it raised more questions than it answered, two turned to the teenage boys who swing for their crime, which two. if they were accused of raping and killing, who are the others. all my life i question whether god's people lived in verse i but i was face to face with the
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truth, something much closer to it than i ever thought it would get. the legend i grew up with is riddled with lies and distorted by the ticket 3. these were real people led to real death at the start of the season of violence leading to the expulsion of all 1098 african residents, i begin to understand how the names and dates, and racial cleansing seems like only a legend. a deliberate and sustained campaign of terror. this was jane and oscar led to
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the streets of atlanta. the first look at these photographs gave me hope it might be possible to learn about the african-american refugees, what really where it happened in the fall of 1912. searching for every scrap about the expulsion, newspaper archives in the basement of the county courthouse, old letters in the archives of the atlanta history center and interviewed the sentence of black families, adding their stories to mountainous evidence showing not just that the expulsions happened, but where, when, how, to whom and by whom. in this case the devil truly was in the details and that is what i was asked. this is a photograph of the children of jeremiah and nancy brown who were expelled in 1912. the book i made out of this material aims to tell the true
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story behind the legend i heard so many times that speaks of a murdered girl, public inching on town square, and execution of two teenage boys and month of terrorism and arson that succeeded in closing precise borders to nonwhites for nearly a century. the book's characters include county sheriff, you could guess who the villain is, the big guy, can you tell? i had been thinking about these for a long time before i found a photograph of the manned when i looked at this picture, definitely read on the left and loomis looks overmatched already. characters include county sheriff who a few years later would found the chapter of the ku klux klan and a number of unexpected heroes including a deputy who tried desperately to stop the violence and a mayor
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who built a lynch mob on the steps of the county courthouse. the real protagonist at the heart of the story of the african american farmers, field hands, ministers, merchants and servants who were forced out by the mob. all my life these people had been an absence, a vanished civilization whose names and struggles as unknowable i lost forever but i have come to know more about them than i ever thought possible, just how heroically they carried on. this is joseph kellogg, the largest black property owner in the county, he founded the methodist church and was a real leader in the community. one of the lives i picked up was the black community with a monolithic group of poor marginal sharecroppers and there were plenty of people like that including ernest knox and oscar daniel but there were educated
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and properly owning african-american citizens who were deeply enmeshed with the culture of the elite white people in the county. this is a surprise to the white community and the black community. i am hopeful this one focused story is a historical core sample drilling through 200 years in the life of a single play, might just ways we can begin coming to grips with our nation's history of racial violence and injustice. as i work on the book, the truth and reconciliation hearings in south africa were never far from my mind with insight about the corrosive effects of denial and the healing power of the truth. i am confronted by people who are angry i was, quote, dredging up what they saw as ancient history most recently in the common section of the atlanta journal-constitution which i made the mistake of scrolling down. this is still there. such people seem to want the
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reward of the revolutionary peace process, that was reconciliation without paying the harrowing price of turning and facing the truth. when i started searching the surviving primary sources like document and atlanta history center's archives, i found again and again the myth of precise racial cleansing contain distortions and outright lies. many of them designed to shield whites from guilt and pain of what happened and ancestors involvement in a terrible crime. i was told the clan did this. the original ku klux klan was prosecuted out of existence in the 1870s and was not reconstituted until 1915. the lynching of leo frank and marietta, you will hear in a
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minute, i learned the torch wielding night riders i always envisioned as a kid, where the invention of phil maker dw griffith in his movie the birth of a nation. when the film was screened in atlanta in 1915, it was the, quote, new clan, the modern clan, rather than the other way around, came out and watched the film and that is when the clan had masks and crosses and all that. that came out of dw griffith's imagination but that rebirth of the ku klux klan is three years in the future in 1912 and simply impossible the campaign of terrorism, the work of white sheeted klansman. who then were the persons unknown responsible to purge. ruth jordan is another of those


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